Girls who recently marched along the Chipembere Highway in Blantyre demanding the release of their fellow girls in Nigeria abducted by Boko Haram did a commendable job. Sympathy for those who are suffering is the first step in offering them a helping hand.
We understand Boko Haram is prepared to swap those girls with its members whom President Goodluck Jonathan is holding in custody. The general policy of countries whose nationals have been captured by terrorists is to say ‘no’ to exchange terrorist prisoners with their innocent nationals. It is said by swapping prisoners with terrorists you simply encourage the terrorists to carry on with their brutal activities. In case of the Nigerian girls, the possibility that Boko Haram can do the worst to them cannot be ruled out especially Christian girls who have refused to convert to Islam.
There are certain spots on earth where I would not go and if by hard luck I were there I would wish to fly out as soon as possible. Northern Nigeria’s Boko Haram is only the climax of the violence that has been taking place spasmodically since the mass killing of the Igbo in 1967.
“India is one country but two nations,” said Mohamed Jinnah. The two nations as he saw them were Muslims and Hindus. He believed there could be no peace between these two ‘nations’ dwelling in our country. If India was partitioned so that Muslims had a country of their own, only then would there be peace to be known.
During August in 1947 what used to be known as RAJ or British India was split into India and Pakistan. Did permanent peace descend on these countries? Not quite, I have sometimes wished I could travel to India to see the Taj Mahal and the River Ganges. But I am not so keen to travel to Pakistan. Hardly a month passes without hearing of suicide bombing resulting in deaths of scores of people. The victims are not merely the minority Christians, but Muslims of minority sects. The Taliban is making life insecure. Don’t ask me about Somalia, Syria or Afghanistan. You know the answer.
The girls who marched in Blantyre are right to worry about their fellow girls in what looks to be a distant country, but is in fact close by. They are not wrong those who talk of the world today as a global village.
“Do not ask for whom the bell tells it tolls for thee,” wrote an English poet, centuries ago. The troubles and agonies of other countries are ours also. Today they are happening there tomorrow they might be here. Instigators of violence have become so sophisticated that to detect them even a microscope does not suffice.
Abuse of religion is behind the violences that seem never to end. Fanatics believe that killing themselves along with innocent people will pave their way to heaven. Everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs provided they do not endanger the lives of other people.
For a long time whenever an America president has vowed to hunt and destroy terrorists, some people have condemned such a posture as mere thirst for world domination. They have said that people that Americans call terrorists are freedom fighters. Osama bin Laden warned the United States to quit Muslim countries. The Americans have left Iraq and the Iraqis are killing one another despite belonging to the same great religion.
In 1945 Western nations, the Soviet Union and China formed the United Nations with the objectives of preventing more wars between states. During the past 70 years the world has been protected from the tribulations and destructiveness of a third world war. World nations should now make concerted efforts to purge the earth of misanthropes who on the pretext of religion are unleashing terror on the people that dwell there.